Become your own brand of fatshionista: finding the self-confidence to rock your curves

August 28 | Guest post by Minerva Siegel

You might recognize this bride from her vow renewal featured on Offbeat Bride

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Photo by Sarah Christine Moore

Finding self-confidence and a style identity as a fat babe in a world that's constantly labeling us as "Before" pictures can seem like a near-impossible task. We live in a society that generally glorifies thin body types as perfection, while labeling plus-sizers as people who need to be "fixed."

I don't have a thigh gap; in fact, mine are full of cellulite. My hips are wide, my booty is enormous, I have a belly, my arms are big, and I weigh a solid 300lbs — yet people stop me on the street constantly to compliment me on my style. This is how I found the courage to come out from underneath baggy, shapeless clothes and embrace my curves, "flaws" and all.

Become your own brand of fatshionista

Step 1: Stop bullying yourself

I'd often catch myself looking at my body and thinking that it was ugly, or gross, or too big/too cellulite-y/too stretch marked. I realized that I was constantly bashing my body; that I was bullying it and making myself feel worse.

To remedy this, I decided to stop allowing myself to use negative words when thinking about my body. Whenever I did slip up and have those thoughts, I'd make myself go back and compliment myself instead. My inner dialogue went something like, "Ugh, nothing fits me right, I feel so ugly… but my butt looks really good in these jeans, and I have such a nice smile."

It felt silly at first, but when I kept it up I saw that it was really starting to improve my outlook not only on my body but on life in general.

fatshionista inspiration as seeon on @offbetbride

Step 2: Realize your worth

It's so easy to get caught up on body image. Our society teaches us that it's tightly connected to our self-worth, which just isn't true. Part of gaining the self-confidence to rock the edgy fashion trends I want to (sheer! crop tops! short shorts!) was realizing that I have so much more to offer the world than my appearance. I wrote a list of all the things at which I'm excellent and kept it taped to my mirror, so that every morning, I'd be reminded that I have value as a person and an identity beyond the word "fat."

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Photo by Sarah Christine Moore

Step 3: "Fat" is not a bad word

All my life, people have hurled weight-related insults at me. I've been called a whale, a pig, tubby, a chubbers, fat; every time someone called me one of those, it stung me deeply and left me feeling insecure for days.

Realizing that "fat" isn't synonymous with "ugly" was a big game-changer for me. I AM fat. So what? "Fat" and "beautiful" aren't mutually exclusive adjectives. I can be both. When I feel down, I scroll through body-positive hashtags on Tumblr and Instagram. Seeing all those photos and posts of fat babes absolutely killing it always reminds me that being fat doesn't automatically equate to being unattractive.

fatshionista inspiration seeon on @offbetbride

Step 4: You don't owe anyone "flattering"

I unapologetically rock crop tops and sheer blouses with nothing but a bra underneath. I go sleeveless, I wear short shorts. I participate in whatever fashion trends I feel like participating in, because no one owes anyone "flattering." Being yourself is enough, without body shapers, without long-sleeves and pants, without covering up and hiding your body to make other people more comfortable. YOU have to be happy with YOURSELF and not live for other people.

I used to wear baggy sweaters in 90-degree weather because I didn't want people to see my fat arms, my rolls, my chub. Now my comfort and happiness are my number one priority. I no longer care what people think about my cellulite, fat, etc., and that's such a powerful, liberating feeling.

My mantra is: If people don't like the way I look, they don't have to look at me. Some people won't like the way you look. You're going to have haters. That's just part of life. Universal popularity is unattainable, so instead of trying for it, you'd might as well make yourself happy.

fatshionista fashion insporation as seen on @offbeatbride

Step 5: Go for it!

Body acceptance/love is a process that takes time and work, but when you're feeling up to it, I dare you to try out new trends that go out of your comfort zone. The first time I went out in public in a sleeveless dress, I was terrified and insecure. The second time wasn't as bad. And now I don't even think twice about it. When you go out of your fashion comfort zone, and the world doesn't end, you'll feel unstoppable!

Self-confidence doesn't always come easily, but cutting out negative self-talk, taking stock of your true value, realizing that "fat" isn't an insult or synonymous with "ugly," and forcing myself to step out of my fatshion comfort zone helped me to be able to love myself for who I am, stretch marks and all. Because we live in a society that glorifies skinny regardless of health, people will always try to make fat people feel badly about themselves, perhaps even more so if they have the "audacity" to be both fat AND happy.

Being confident and secure in yourself makes it easier to let negative comments roll off, as the fabulous Jinkx Monsoon would say, "like water off a duck's back." So, get out there, be large, and become your own brand of fatshionista! There's no better feeling than the self-confidence that comes with unapologetically rocking your curves and knowing you're hot as hell.

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If you haven't already, make sure to check out Minerva and her husband Max's intimate vow renewal on Offbeat Bride.

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  1. You are totally awesome!
    I NEED to know where to get that red/black dress in step 4!

    15 agree
  2. A thousand thank yous for writing this article and publishing it. This is exactly what I need to hear. I have been fat all my life and hated every second of it. I can look at a photo and ensure I don't see myself in it. I have to force myself to look at my wedding photos without only seeing the flaws.
    It is not enough that I lead an active life, have a fantastic husband who makes me feel like a goddess, and a career that I love, I still instinctually buy the baggy shirt and avoid looking at myself in it.
    I am going to bookmark your article and read it often. I love your outlook. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

    8 agree
    • Body positivity is a process and a journey, and I'm proud of you for embarking on it! Don't be so hard on yourself, I'm sure you're absolutely lovely! <3 Thank you so much for taking the time to read my piece!

  3. Yes to all of this. Women especially are taught that they are only as valuable as their looks, with looks being a narrowly defined set of ridiculous and mostly impossible beauty standards. Beyond simply functional clothing, fashion should be FUN above all else. Who cares what you look like? Rock the hell out of what makes you happy/comfortable/etc and screw what other people think. Women are more than their looks (and fashion sense). Why do we even care so much when a woman doesn't fit the standard definition of beauty? So what if she isn't deemed sexually attractive by most men (or women)? Why is that so important? The last I checked, there's way more to life than sexual attraction, and way more that women contribute to our society than sitting around looking like pretty dolls. Why don't we obsess about each person's contributions to the greater good instead? Seems to me like it would be a lot more productive. /rant.

    3 agree
  4. Would it be weird to give this a literal standing ovation? This is the most amazing piece on body image I have ever read – and I'm an eating disorders/body image therapist. You reflect everything I strive for (for both myself and my clients) in terms of confidence and unqualified, unconditional self-love. My favorite part is about not dressing to flatter… just brilliant and spot-on. I am bookmarking and will be directing clients to this on a very regular basis. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

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    • aww I'm tearing up! Thank you so much! I really pour my heart and soul into what I write. <3 I'm glad you appreciate it!

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  5. You look amazing. That red rose lace top is so my style 😀 Go you!!

    As a dietician in training I totally support this. You have to be happy with yourself, mental health is vital for overall health! There is no reason, no matter what size you are, to hate yourself because of how you look. Ingrained self hate like that affects every aspect of your life, you physically don't feel as well as when you are just happy with who and what you are! I hope to promote health in my dietary practice not push a magazine promoted ideal. I am bookmarking this for later. Fantastic article.

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  6. I'm in love with this article and also EVERY SINGLE OUTFIT in your pictures!!! You rock them all and that's awesome.

    3 agree
  7. Can you add some links to stores where you shop and has awesome clothing that fits bigger girls like us? I'd love to browse 😀 lovely article

    3 agree
  8. Thanks so much for this! I'm currently in the "stepping outside my comfort zone" phase, and it's taking a long time. Trying to find or create style that balances things I find flattering and things that challenge my comfort zone is….difficult. But opening up wardrobe options seems like something I'll appreciate in the long run. I'd appreciate any tips on how you create your style!

    • My advice to you would be to go with what you like! Don't worry about 'flattering'; you don't owe anyone a certain style. Make yourself happy and you won't go wrong!

      2 agree
  9. The best advice I ever got was to never say anything about yourself you wouldn't say to your most beloved friend. So I would tell my friend that a skirt "wasn't my favorite" on her (if asked) but I would never say that skirt make you look like a trashbag. And if she disparaged her thighs I would say "no one but you cares and your boobs are fantastic" It helped when I would get into one of those endless spiraling body hate loops to have a quick check question of "Would I say that to my BFF?"

  10. Girl, you're cool! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! You and your husband look like a bad-ass couple! I love that red lace shirt with the black skirt! Hot!

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